There is no fundamental difference between the conflict in Ukraine and that between Israel and Hamas. Each group in question sees itself as having its back to the wall. Each has had the bitter experience of trusting allies who let it down. This does not justify shooting down a plane filled with innocent people, but the fear of destruction that drives people to such exigencies is a terrible thing.
Hamas and Israel are at war and the land beneath their citizens' feet is crying. As it does, an incredible marvel -- while not entirely new-- is happening, and that is tweeting behind the lines. The idea that Palestinians and I, a Jewish community worker in Toronto in 2014, are bantering back and forth while bombs and missiles fall in Israel and Gaza is astounding.
Early morning on Friday, July 11, Gaza's Ark received a direct hit by a shell fired from an Israeli navel vessel which badly damaged the boat and started a fire on board. The civil defense and fire brigades could not extinguish the fire quickly enough due to the continuous shelling of the port that night and the boat was completely destroyed.
Around 9 p.m. Israel time on Tuesday, Liberal MP Gerry Byrne and a group of Canadian parliamentarians were forced to take cover in one of many bomb shelters across Israel when a siren warned of missiles fired from Gaza headed for Jerusalem, the nation's capital. While all emerged safely, the experience -- and the knowledge that several missiles landed in the city's vicinity -- will not be soon forgotten. Being Canadian is among the greatest gifts in an often-dangerous world.
Two general arguments thus exist against any act of terrorism. One is substantive, an argument that the situation which the terrorist defines as necessitating eradication is, in fact, not the case. The terrorist's perception and determination of the facts, in themselves, are challenged. Accordingly, there is no argument for terrorism as there is no need for terrorism.
This week, Canadians observed the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. For Sikh Canadians and Jewish Canadians alike, the Day of Remembrance has particular resonance. That our two communities have shared experience in facing terrorism was pointedly on display during the 2008 Mumbai attack.
The Metropolitan Opera recently announced it would cancel a planned worldwide cinema broadcast of John Adams' haunting opera, The Death of Klinghoffer. Indeed the whole opera has been criticized -- including by Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer, the daughters of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer -- as humanizing and even justifying acts of terrorism.
The new citizenship and immigration minister, Chris Alexander, delivered a speech last week, the day before International Women's Day. The surprising part was just short of the end, when Alexander paused, stared down at the podium. He was crying. But Alexander and his government created a fast refugee system, not a fair one.
The occupation contradicts the values and wishes of most Israelis. There is no need for incitement to drive a wedge of hate between Palestinians and Israelis. The policy of occupation and the behaviour of the settlers is enough. I condemn terrorism and incitement, but the truth must be said: some of us, Israelis, engage in incitement.
President Obama does not want to lose the Senate to the Republicans, yet that might happen if he is seen to side with Iran, which Americans detest, and against Israel, which most Americans, including mainstream Democrats, solidly support. For this reason, the Obama Administration could be counted on to veto the anti-Israel resolutions that would surely arise at the United Nations.
The U.S. under President Ronald Reagan opposed Israel's decision to destroy Saddam Hussein's Osirak nuclear reactor, and when Israel went ahead in 1981 Reagan embargoed delivery of F-16 fighters to punish Israel. The U.S. under President George H Bush insisted that Israel not retaliate against Iraq when Saddam Hussein launched 39 Scud missiles into Israel.
The Jewish community in Canada didn't even concentrate on Israeli politics until the Six Day War in 1967. Resulting, however, from the fear that Israeli Jews were facing a second Holocaust, as well from a new confidence that was born out of decisive victory in the war, Israel was officially adopted by the Canadian Jewish mainstream.
Since the Second Intifada in 2,000, 1,227 Israelis have been killed in terror attacks and 8,549 have been injured. Additionally, the Shin Bet claims to have been able to prevent 190 terror attacks in 2013, 40 which were carried out by terrorists freed under the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, including 16 suicide attacks, as opposed to 112 in 2012.
Criticism of Israel by organizations like Oxfam has reached a fevered pitch; the unparalleled hysteria is all the more apparent when cross-referenced with truly horrific and tragic world events which fail to garner similar attention. The irrational intent of this anti-Israel mania undermines humanitarian and peacemaking objectives.
To suggest that Israel is guilty of engaging in apartheid, akin to the racist and discriminatory treatment of black residents of South Africa, is a modern day form of blood libel. (for centuries anti-Semites alleged that Jews kidnapped Christian children, killed them and used their blood for Jewish rituals)
The Prime Minister of Canada unveiled his latest stimulus program this week. He's visiting Israel, and in doing so is helping foster a boom in the production of one of our nation's most treasured goods: whiny editorials about Canadian foreign policy. There are a lot of nasty tropes floating out there about the cryptic man running our country. The no less oft-repeated claim that Stephen Harper is the most aggressively pro-Israel leader in the world, however -- that one's on considerably firmer ground. So if all these bigshot important people say Harper's clearly in the wrong with all this Israel stuff, why's he plowing forth anyway?